Heat waves are increasing in number and severity, and that's putting a strain on people's air conditioning as everyone tries to maintain their usual preferred indoor temperature. However, air conditioning units can really only cool to about 20 degrees or so below the temperature outside. On very hot days, that can make it seem like your home just isn't cool unless you occasionally hop outside for comparison. A few extra steps can help make your home seem much cooler even if the thermostat can't go any lower.
Box and table fans work well for very localized cooling, like when you have just gotten home and want a steady breeze right in your sweaty face. But for all-powerful cooling, ceiling fans are the best. An efficient ceiling fan can make a room seem a few degrees cooler very quickly just by redistributing cooler air blowing out of the air conditioner vents. Have these fans in all bedrooms and shared spaces other than bathrooms.
Outdoor Shutters if Possible
If you're up to doing a few renovations on your home, adding working outdoor shutters could be nice. If you live in an HOA-controlled area, you might not be able to do this, but if you have control over how you present the exterior of your home, look at real shutters that you can close over your windows. These block light from getting to the glass of the window. Instead of having the light shine through the glass and warm up the air inside the room, sunlight won't get through at all, reducing thermal transfer.
Dressing for the Season
It's true—dress inside as you would for a day outside, unless you tend to cover up on sunny days. Shorts, T-shirts, long hair pinned up, anything you do to dress more for the season indoors will help. When you get home from work, change out of your suit and wear clothing that won't cause you to feel warm. Wearing even long pajama pants prevents cooler air from getting to your legs, for example. Once you get home, you need to break out the summer clothing.
Eventually, fall and winter will be back. In the meantime, get the air in your home moving, and have your air conditioner checked out if the heat wave lets up but your home still doesn't feel cool (keep in mind that walls absorb heat, so give it a few days for everything to cool off).